Thursday, October 28, 2010

Losing your name?

If there is one thing that I don't think I'll ever understand, its why a woman would change her name when she marries.

I used to say it was a Chinese opinion. The majority of Asian women do not adopt their husbands surname, they keep their name, they don't lose it in a bid to look more like a family, or something like that. Personally, I've always thought that even though I plan to keep my name (basically forever), if I ever marry and have kids, I would still be known to other children as Mrs {insert lastname here}. Because that's what kids do. They assume their friends lastname is the name of the parent.

But I can say that it isn't a Chinese thing. Both my grandmothers, my Ah Poh and my Grandma, both kept their maiden names. I find this a little intriguing; not because my Ah Poh did, but because my Australian Grandmother did. She would have been an anomaly among her generation. If my grandmother were alive today, she would probably be in her late eighties, so for someone born at that time...

One thing my mother has regretted for years, is that when she married my dad, she changed her name. Completely changed it, looking at her on paper or talking to her on the phone, you would never guess she's Chinese. She's talking about changing it to something which is a balance of her old and new names. And in a lot of ways I'm pleased. It will be a little strange for her to have a different name than the one I've known my whole life, but at the same time, it's really quite exciting, because if feels like she is reclaiming something she willingly gave away.

One of my friends got married this year, and I was a little aghast that the first question she was asked, the day after her wedding (on facebook) was "Why haven't you changed your name yet???" And I felt like saying, why would you change your name? If it is so important that everyone have the same last name, why shouldn't the husband change his name?

Why must all the sacrifices be on one side?

(And then of course in most households the woman does more housework; even if she works long hours she is still expected to do the lions share of the domestic work, including childcare. Is this what we really want?)


A more extensive post on this topic can be found At BitchPHD (by bitchphd). It also discusses fair division of labour in the home and other such issues.

And Here at Hoyden About Town (by bluemilk).

No comments:

Post a Comment